The City of Wolverhampton Council is urging people to show their support and head into the city centre for Small Business Saturday on 5 December.

The national day of action highlights the success of small enterprises and looks to inspire others to set up their own business.

The grassroots initiative, now in its third year and backed by American Express, also aims to promote the quality and diversity of small businesses and persuade communities to support their local traders in reviving high streets all year round.

The City of Wolverhampton has around 8,000 businesses with around 300 small independent traders in the city centre alone.

Start up businesses survival rates are also higher in Wolverhampton than the national average. The 2014 data shows that 94.8% of the city's businesses that started up 12 months previously survived the first year of business. This figure is higher than the national average at (93.5%), the Black Country (94.4%) and the West Midlands (94.2%).

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "The council is supporting the national campaign encouraging people to shop locally. It is important to support any initiatives that help independent traders in our city - particularly in the run up to Christmas.

"Having independent small retailers and businesses in the city is vitally important to the city's economy and offer in attracting visitors. We have a wide variety of small to medium enterprises in Wolverhampton, all offering a unique and friendly service that we are all keen to support and see grow."

One of those businesses is The Hungry Bistro on the corner of Lichfield Street and Fryer Street, which is celebrating 2 years in business this month.

The restaurant was opened by young entrepreneur Richard Brown on the back of the High Street Innovation and Portas Pilot initiatives in December 2013.

Richard entered the Wolverhampton Portas Pilot 'Idea2Reality' competition and battled dozens of other budding entrepreneurs for a prize worth £50,000 of business support, including a 6 month rent free shop and a contribution to business rates.

The Wolverhampton entrepreneur also worked with the Princes Trust scheme, which offers support and guidance for young entrepreneurs.

Thanks to the initiative Richard was able to transform an empty unit opposite the City's bus and train stations - and a stone's throw from the Grand Theatre - into The Hungry Bistro, offering a range of British and travel inspired dishes, coffees, wines and world beers.

Richard said: "I appreciate the continued support of the city council in developing my business.

"They are also regenerating the city with developments such as the new bus station and the Interchange, which will bring more people into the city centre.

"I think this will help my business grow and improve the retail offer for Wolverhampton."

As part of Small Business Saturday, talented residents supported by Wolverhampton Homes will be showcasing their skills on the ground floor of the Mander Centre at Flair Fair. A range of handmade gifts, including cards, stationery, flowers, jewellery, soft furnishings, clothing and cakes will be on sale.

Free online business advice and support sessions are being offered by Type=links;Linkid=6722;Title=My Incubator Ventures;Target=_blank; on the day, while advice is available for start ups and small to medium businesses all year round from the Type=links;Linkid=6399;Title=Black Country Growth Hub;Target=_blank; based at the Science Park.

Councillor Reynolds added: "I would encourage everyone to visit our small businesses this Saturday and do your bit to support your city."

  • Festive shoppers and local businesses can enjoy the benefits of free parking in Wolverhampton city centre in the run up to Christmas. Free parking will be available on Fold Street car park from 3pm on Wednesday 9 December and Wednesday 16 December; and from Monday 21 December to Wednesday 23 December. There will also be free all day parking on Fold Street car park on each Sunday in December in the build up to Christmas. For more information visit: Type=articles;Articleid=1715;Title=Parking and roads;.

  • released: Thursday 3 December, 2015